Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Captain Chris And Little Toot At U Of Findlay Event

FORT MYERS, FL. -- LaBelle's own little "giving tugboat" Little Toot and Captain Chris made an appearance at the gathering of friends and alumni of the University of Findlay (Ohio) and the Mazza Musuem Tuesday evening at Pincher's Restaurant and Edison Marina in Fort Myers.

Captain Chris made a presentation about how he found Little Toot in LaBelle in a shed along the Caloosahatchee River, then owned by Mr. Campbell, and how finding the boat and the restoration of the 25-foot Crosby Tug became life changing for Chris.

The University's Mazza Museum, with one of the world's largest collections of original children's book art was represented by it's director Ben Sapp and a presentation of watercolor art by Linda Gramatky Smith, daughter of world famous author and artist Hardie Gramatky (photo left), a senior animator for Walt Disney, and author of the children's book Little Toot, first published in 1939.

Mrs. Smith finished Gramatky's  latest book in the series, Little Toot And The Loch Ness Monster in 1989 on the 50th anniversary of Little Toot, with the help of her mother Dorothea Cooke Gramatky, also an artist. Much of Gramatky's art and a copy of his desk is on display at the Mazza Museum in Findlay, Ohio

The University's President Dr. Katherine Fell and other faculty members also gave short presentations Tuesday night before an audience of about 100.

The University of Findlay is a private University established in 1882 known for science, health professions, animal science and equestrian studies programs.

Captain Chris has been sharing his stories and the non-profit Little Toot Foundation activities with the city of LaBelle community through cooperation with the Barron Library, LaBelle Heritage Museum, Downtown Development Corporation, and the Hendry Schools, where this week he made a presentation to LaBelle Elementaty School students accompanied by Chris' parents Mr. and Mrs. Robin Obetz.

(Gramatky photo courtesy Mazza Museum, University of Findlay)

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